When the characters approach a clearing in the forest, they will see 4 ogres who are guarding, and preventing from escape, 4 human males, and 3 human females. The ogres will see the party and leap to attack. The females will scream "OUR SAVIORS!!" and run screaming straight across the currently forming battlefield, in between ogres and party members, to hide behind the rearmost party members. They will be safe there. The males will try to skirt the battle to the north side to join the women.
To the south, giants will be hiding in the thick underbrush until the party has engaged the ogres and then attack the most opportune target EXCEPT the ones that the females are next to.
It should be noted that the female commoners are not female commoners at all, nor are the male commoners actually male commoners. The female commoners are the hags, who have polymorphed themselves as the commoners in their stewpot to escape detection. The males skirting the battle are actually MORE ogres, the hags were in the process of polymorphing ALL the ogres into regular humans for ambush purposes. The REAL commoners are already dead, having found their way into the coven's cauldron for dinner.
The hags (the women) will position themselves near to any spellcasters in the rear first, and then near anyone else in the back of the fight. The ogres (the men) will wait until the hags shift form, and then attack first the rear folks, then shift into the melee.
It is possible that the characters, as they approach the ogres, will notice the giants in the bush, and be able to warn the others of the ambush.
GAME NOTES: If you sell the screaming women correctly, they will not even be suspected until it is too late. Therein lay the problem. This encounter is ESPECIALLY deadly to the rear eschelon of the party. It is entirely possible that the hags will finish off half the party before they even realize they have been duped. Caution is required if the game master wishes to avoid a TPK(total party kill).
No one is allowed to do harm to those of Highest/ Imperial rank, those of the Imperial household or those related within two steps of blood. The second tradition is an executioner must be of a higher rank than those he executes. This leads to "issues" when someone tries to harm a member of the Imperial clan or when these members are subversive. Such people are often killed by the being chained under a giant bell. They die within a day or so from the vibration, but they die untouched by Human hands.
The Church of the one true God guards a terrible secret: Their God is dying. He is kept within a tank, steamworks forever pumping to keep him alive, clockwork engines forcing his laboured breathing.
Sneezing Sickness - A strange plant infection that causes its victim to spread the plants seeds by sneezing them about. Larger lumps of phlegm or saliva sprout is spat out in a sunny place, producing more of the plants. As the Magical version of seasonaly allergies the affliction is limited in term and non-life threatening.
A Cloak of Shadows that causes mushrooms to grow in its own shadow. A crouching theif might find himself in a ring of poisonous toadstools, an interesting thing for a sentry to find after the thief has left hiding place.
The spellbook of a long dead wizard that has gained the ability to read itself and cast spells from itself. If could be amazingly powerful as an ally, or use its magic to manipulate and rule a kingdom.
The party wakes up in an inn around a table with wine goblets near at hand. They have forgotten all that happened the last day. As they seek to find the truth they come in contact with a man that gives them a job which pays quite nicely.
When they have finished with this rather dubious assignment they are invited to dinner by the the man...
The PCs are sent with a diplomat to another country to protect him and do his bidding. There may be some espionage, rescuing, downright bullying, etc. Could make a nice medieval, special operations background.
One of the PC's falls in love with a woman who happens to be a necromancer...perhaps she/he is allied with a group working against the PCs?
A caravan is traveling through the desert. The party is hired to capture a man who is in the caravan, and it must be done quietly, so that nobody else knows. They are given the man's name, and the fact that he is a mage, but no other information about him. The catch is that the caravan consists of ten wagons, with at least thirty or forty guards.
A lizard race that is basicly Good rather then Evil, is being attacked by evil humans that want control of their river.
A small, primitive village has yet to discover fire, which is a good thing because there are highly flammable (but not otherwise dangerous) gasses in the air. The heroes, blissful in their ignorance, don't know that and think it a wonderful idea to show the locals open flame.
Unbeknownest to the character, he is in the royal bllodline. Suddenly the majority of royals fall ill and die, and the hero is left with the crown, but no experience or idea of what to do.
A Deity of some sort has unleashed a plague of bookworms or something like that in the area. Almost all spellbooks are destroyed, along with bardic and historical books.
Stormbound, the ship rolls hard over to once side. All that is not strapped down is tossed violently overboard in a splash of freezing water.
There, on the horizon- a tower. Squat, it stands alone on a tiny island. However, it's the only land in sight, and any more of this ferocious storm will crush the boat to splinters.
Taking shelter within the ornate entryway of the squat tor, the party notes with interest that no signs of life break the silence of the stone tower. As they take another step forward, they realise why.
This is the fabled tower of Brenji, a rich merchant who wished none to share his enormous wealth. He constructed this tower to store his gold- trapped and ready for any potential thieves. But the ingenious pitfalls and scything walls are not the only dangers within the silent walls of the building. A guardian, left behind by Brenji, still stalks these very halls.
A rattling hiss echoes somewhere from below...
When running a new party, get around the question of plot density by having the first discovery to be a deck of fate, or whatever you call it. If you use a real deck, you should definitely stack it to have the desired outcome, which is to curse the party to attract weird things to happen and involve them. This should not be told to the players at the time, so that they won't just up and try to get themselves 'decursed'. Though quite why they would want to is beyond me.
A magic speaking sword of great power-which is also a racist, obnoxious and unpleasent, so much so that those who carry it often *gag* the hilt of it, the taking part, with cloth to shut it up.
You've probebly heard of the real Thomas Hopkins, Witchfinder-General, who hunted down and hanged suspected "witches". What if there was a world/realm where magic was normal, and it was the non-witches and non-wizards who were hunted down and hanged as inferior beings?
A race of halflings has lived so long underground that their skin has taken on the color and texture of cauliflower, they are called the Cauliflower or the Mushroom People for their skin and aversion to light.
The blood of a dragon is vital in the creation of potions of longevity. The liver could used to cure any disease or ailment, while the heart could restore a PC to full and complete health, despite their age, or injury.
Found written on a torn single page…
“Lay thee patiently and still upon the ground, contemplating the Leper Star in the firmament, 'neath a crescent moon, ‘midst the graves of a boneyard 'til the G’na-Shennu come crawling up from the foetid earth. Fear them not. Let them rage about thee, casting ghoul-dust from their chalky talons and scalps,'til they calm, and so begin to whisper their secrets. Then shall they solemnly withdraw into the earth once more, in peace."